It may not top the list of everyone’s sporting calendars this summer, but there’s still a lot of excitement to be had from this summer’s international football offering – the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The pre-cursor to next summer’s FIFA World Cup, the Confederations Cup sees all the most recent winners of the continental tournaments, as well as hosts Russia and world champions Germany pit it out to see who is the best of the Champions and possibly give us an idea of what to expect in 12 months time.
It’s also a good chance for young players to shine either to force their way into their manager’s plans for the future or even a big club move in the summer transfer window, evidenced by Germany’s decision to name a squad without usual starters Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Müller or Mesut Özil.
Listed below are the eight players you need to look out for during this summer’s tournament.
Hirving Lozano (Mexico/Pachuca)
The 21-year-old has only scored one goal in 14 caps for the Mexican national side but he has come off arguably his best season yet scoring eight goals in the CONCACAF Champions League winning the tournament’s Golden Boot and Best Young Player as Pachuca won North America’s biggest club prize. Image Source: Twitter
Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon/Sevilla)
Named ahead of his cousin Andre Onana as the Lions' first choice goalkeeper in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Ondoa will presumably retain his place as the Cameroon #1 even though he’s rarely played for Sevilla B. Ondoa was named in the 2017 AFCON Team of the Tournament however, thanks to great performances in the latter rounds. Image Source: Twitter
Aaron Mooy (Australia/Huddersfield Town)
On loan from Manchester City, Mooy has been sensational in Huddersfield’s unforeseen promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs. The 26-year-old is the creative hub of the Aussie team and is coming off a season where he was named Huddersfield Player of the Season. Image Source: Twitter
Leon Goretzka (Germany/Schalke 04)
One of the players to benefit from the usual German suspects being given the summer off, Goretzka is a versatile midfielder and is seen as one of the best young talents in Germany repeatedly linked with moves to FC Bayern Munich. He captained the Olympic team last summer before a shoulder injury prematurely ended his tournament. Image Source: Twitter
Timo Werner (Germany/RB Leipzig)
Germany have often struggled to find a centre-forward that isn’t Miroslav Klose but they may have struck gold in 21-year-old Werner. The Leipzig striker has scored 21 goals in 31 games for the newly promoted club who shocked everyone by finishing second to FC Bayern in their first Bundesliga season. Image Source: Twitter
Aleksandr Golovin (Russia/CSKA Moscow)
Recently linked with Arsenal, the 21-year-old has been progressing nicely with CSKA. He has had some doubters over whether he would be ready for a move to North London but a good tournament in his home country may prove those detractors wrong. Image Source: Twitter
Bernardo Silva (Portugal/Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola’s first signing of this summer, Silva has just come off his best ever season winning the French league title with Monaco and being named in Ligue 1 Team of the Year. The exciting wide midfielder has slowly progressed through the ranks being named in U19 and U21 Euro Team of the Tournaments and must give Portugal fans hope for life post-Ronaldo. Image Source: Twitter
Niklas Süle (Germany/1899 Hoffenheim)
At only 21, Sule is another one for the next generation of German talents but could make a big impact in this tournament and the next 12 months before Russia 2018. Having already played 116 games for Hoffenheim’s first team, he was named in this year’s Team of the Season as they qualified for the UEFA Champions League. He'll sign for Bayern Munich this summer despite interest from Chelsea. Image Source: Twitter
The Confederations Cup may not be the most important tournament in football but it can still give us a breakout star or two, tell us in the comments who you believe will be the ones to watch this summer?